The new ‘diaspora trap’ framework: Explaining return migration from South Africa to Zimbabwe beyond the ‘failure-success’ framework

Authors

  • Divane Nzima Department of Sociology & Anthropology University of Fort Hare
  • Philani Moyo Department of Sociology & Anthropology University of Fort Hare

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.33182/ml.v14i3.349

Keywords:

Migration, Human mobility, Integration, Immigration, Acculturation

Abstract

This article explores how South Africa-based Zimbabwean skilled migrants are dissuaded from returning home permanently. The study was conceptualised against the background that return migration has often been explained based on migrant failure or success in the host country. This failure-success dichotomy stems from the neo-classical economics theory of migration, the new economics of labour migration and the structuralist approach to return migration. Using a qualitative methodological approach, this article challenges the failure-success theoretical position through an exploration of socio-economic factors in Zimbabwe and South Africa that deter permanent return migration. The article contributes to return migration theorising by introducing a new ‘diaspora trap’ framework which argues that permanent settlement is not always voluntary. Central to this involuntary permanent settlement is the social construction of migrants as successful in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwean skilled migrants are thus entrapped in South Africa because of failure to live up to the ‘success social construct,’ and their inability to mitigate adversities in the host country. 

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Divane Nzima, Department of Sociology & Anthropology University of Fort Hare

Divane Nzima is PhD Candidate at the University of Fort Hare Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Mr Nzima also works as an external consultant in a collaborative research project between University of Oxford and UNICEF Innocenti in the Esatern Cape Province of South Africa. His research interests include migration, migration theory, migration-development nexus, sustainable livelihoods and local development. He has published a few academic articles in peer reviewed journals. His latest publication deals with migration-development interactions focusing on the interface between remittances, livelihoods and investment. This paper was published in Migracijske i etničke teme, (1), 37-62 under the title ‘Migrant Remittances, Livelihoods and Investment: Evidence from Tsholotsho District in the Matabeleland North Province of Zimbabwe.’

Philani Moyo, Department of Sociology & Anthropology University of Fort Hare

Philani Moyo is an Associate Professor of Development Sociology at the University of Fort Hare. His research and teaching interests include migration, food security, development, climate change and political economy. He is a council member of the South African Sociological Association and a contributing Editor in the Review of African Political Economy journal. He has done a lot of research and published on the political economy of food insecurity and urban livelihoods in Zimbabwe. His current research focuses on migration, political parties and governance in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Downloads

Published

2017-09-06

How to Cite

Nzima, D., & Moyo, P. (2017). The new ‘diaspora trap’ framework: Explaining return migration from South Africa to Zimbabwe beyond the ‘failure-success’ framework. Migration Letters, 14(3), 355–370. https://doi.org/10.33182/ml.v14i3.349

Issue

Section

Articles